2011 Hyundai Azera Review

Azera

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Trims

GLS
Avg. Price: $16,775
Limited
Avg. Price: $17,722

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2011 Hyundai Azera Overview

2011 Hyundai Azera

Four years in development, Hyundai’s new six-speed automatic transmission means a lot to the South Korean manufacturer, and a couple of very specific things for the 2011 Hyundai Azera. Besides the obvious gains in fuel efficiency resulting from adding a cog to the tranny setup, this new piece is 26.4 pounds lighter than the outgoing five-speed. More than that, with 62 fewer parts than the old transmission, it’s also simpler, more durable, and smaller. In fact, Hyundai claims it’s the smallest and lightest six-speed on the market.

What’s certain is that despite power gains, fuel efficiency has been increased in both available Azera powerplants. The front-wheel-drive (FWD) luxury sedan comes in two trim levels, each with its own engine. The base GLS trim is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 that offers a 16-hp gain over 2010, for a 2011 total of 250. New for the 3.3 in 2011 is Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (DCVVT), previously in use only in the intake. Engineers also retuned the intake manifold to help take advantage of this update, and a Variable Intake System (VIS) only maximizes this potential. The 3.8-liter V6 in the Limited trim uses the same systems and also reports a power increase for 2011. Here it’s 9 hp, for a total of 272.

Hyundai estimates the GLS’ 3.3-liter engine will return 20/29 mpg, while the 3.8 is capable of 18/28, and just to make you feel like a lab animal being rewarded for good behavior, an “Eco Indicator” will light up green when you’re driving “efficiently.”

And despite a planned refresh for the model in the future, Hyundai still decided to give the Azera some aesthetic attention for 2011, with new front and rear fascia, re-styled alloy wheels, and redesigned rearviews and window trim. In fact, the trim got quite a bit of attention, with a new chrome grille and integrated dual tailpipes, as well as redesigned head-, tail-, and foglights. The Limited trim gets standard leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a sunroof – all options for the GLS. The Limited also enjoys a leather-wrapped power tilt and telescopic steering wheel with wood-grain accents, a driver-seat memory system, not to mention the option of several digital entertainment systems, culminating in the Navigation Package with its Infinity 605-watt Logic 7 audio system and LG DVD navigation system. Regardless of trim, you’ll get dual automatic climate controls, solar-control glass, and power seats for driver and front passenger.

Hyundai is trying hard to convince people this is a luxury vehicle capable of competing with Lexus and BMW, amongst others, so they’re certainly not being stingy with the options. Stability and traction control are both standard, as well as four-wheel antilock disc brakes and eight airbags. It’s been a status symbol in Asia for a while now, so all that’s left is to drive it yourself and see if it’s sufficiently swanky for you.

Updated

A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

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